Arsenal (1) 4 Tottenham Hotspur (2) 2
Emirates Stadium, Drayton Park, London N5 1BU
Sunday, 2nd December 2018. Kick-off time: 2.05pm
(4-2-3-1) Leno: Bellerín, Mustafi, Holding, Sokratis; Torreira, Xhaka; Mkhitaryan, Kolašinac, Iwobi; Aubameyang.
Substitutes: Čech, Lichtsteiner, Maitland-Niles, Elneny, Guendouzi, Ramsey, Lacazette,
Scorers: Aubameyang (2), Lacazette, Torreira
Yellow Cards: Mustafi, Torreira, Xhaka
Referee: Mike Dean
At last we welcome our “friends” from Lower Edmonton for the first of two matches in sixteen days at The Emirates; in reference to the corresponding match last season, two goals from Shkodran Mustafi and Alexis Sánchez settled the matter in our favour definitively. On a positive note, Arsenal have only lost to our neighbours on one occasion since we have been domiciled at The Emirates, and that was back in 2010 when we lost 2-3, but today will be different; make no mistake about it, we have to win, a draw or a defeat (God forbid) will not do. A victory today will place us in the top four, leapfrogging our opponents this afternoon.
An assertive start that saw us put the visitors under pressure almost immediately when a slick movement saw Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang head the ball over the bar from close range. This certainly set the tone for the match as Arsenal became the leading side in the early stages of the game. After eight minutes, we took a well-deserved lead when Jan Vertonghen blatantly hand-balled in the penalty area, earning him a yellow card and a well-taken penalty for us superbly scored by Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang that punished Spurs for their schoolboy error. Arsenal were now dominant, and peppered the Tottenham goal with multiple chances, all of which deserved a goal in their own right. Unbelievably, on the half hour, the visitors took a free-kick that saw Eric Dier score with a header; after which the excitement of the day spilled over with confrontation between the substitutes of both sides on the touchline that the match officials had trouble containing. Four minutes later, it happened. After a ridiculous penalty decision by Mike Dean, Spurs took the lead. Son Heung-min went down very easily from a minor tackle by Rob Holding which was minimal contact at best; subsequently Harry Kane scored from the spot. After that all hell broke loose, with the atmosphere in the stadium changing completely in Spurs’ favour with the players launching into reckless tackles that saw Shkodran Mustafi being booked for his trouble. As the first half waned, we had some good chances from Alex Iwobi, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Shkodran Mustafi that could have been goals, but unfortunately were not.
Half-time came and went. Ch-ch-ch-changes with Aaron Ramsey and Alexandre Lacazette replacing Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and so it all started again. This time Spurs came out of the blocks with purpose and we were indeed fortunate not to concede a third from a free-kick taken outside the penalty area. However, ten minutes into the half, after a period of some confusion in our defence, Hector Bellerín passed to Aaron Ramsey, who quickly slotted the ball to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who immediately hit it into the back of the Spurs net. Now we have a derby day to remember. With Mattéo Guendouzi replacing a weary Shkodran Mustafi, we had a feeling that something special may happen at any moment now. Sure enough, with 15 minutes left, a Juan Foyth error allowed Aaron Ramsey to get the ball quickly to Alexandre Lacazette, who ran, turned the Spurs defenders and score with a sweet shot. It wasn’t over yet! Minutes later, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang placed the ball into space for Lucas Torreira to run onto, who slotted the ball past the outstretched Hugo Lloris to make it 4-2 to Arsenal. We were now rampant, assertive and still hungry for more goals. A nasty tackle from Jan Vertonghen on Alexandre Lacazette earned him a well-deserved red card with five minutes left, and with six minutes injury time being granted, we regrouped, consolidated our position, licked our wounds and awaited the final whistle; and when it came, a sense of relief and elation permeated the stadium. A difficult job well done.
When the story of our season is written, this match will be one of the highlights. Every man played their part, and did more than what was either expected or demanded by Mr. Emery, who must surely be pleased with this performance today. They rose to the occasion, stuck together as a body of men, came back from a 1-2 deficit to not only win the game, but also bully and dominate Spurs. Aside for a brief spell, it was truly our game from start to finish. Their spirit was unbreakable, their desire to win the match unstoppable; if they play like this at Old Trafford on Wednesday, then they will surely came back to the capital with three points. A word of praise should also be said for our fans, who not only created a cacophony of sound to back the lads, but constantly encouraged them to greater things. The man of the match? The Arsenal crowd, who nover stopped believing. Remember everyone, keep the faith, get behind the team and the manager, as these early days are going to be crucial for our future success in all competitions. Stick with the winners. Victoria Concordia Crescit.